Understanding the past with an wonderful local gift

Yesterday, Margaret told me that Andy Russell had been trying to reach me but couldn’t. We did, happily, make contact shortly after and Andy, on behalf Gérard, on behalf of Rob, made an awesome local gift – a small shedload of photos of the Combe Down area.

The message said:

“Hi Margaret, sorry to contact you like this but  I am unable to send a message to Richard. Gérard Coles, son of the late Robert Coles has given me about 30 pictures of Combe Down and some of its characters. We both agreed that it would be good to get these to someone who can document them and possibly store them in the archive. They are mostly identified on the back. I would like to copy a few and then pass them on to you if that’s ok. Any thoughts?”

Response to the awesome welcome gift:

All I can say is that Andy well underestimated the number of photos (there are actually 83) and, in my opinion, the importance of some of the images. However I’m really glad he persevered, it was worth it.

I’m not going to try describing all, or indeed any, of them – they need to be catalogued, described and listed by someone much more expert than me.

Having said that I shall show a few and look to finding out more about them and all the others.

I’d love to know what you think – even from the few examples.

Bus leaving rainbow woods 1024x720
Bus leaving rainbow woods
Wilcox bakers 1024x781
Wilcox bakers
Wilcox bakery 1024x784
Wilcox bakery
Rev Jeremy Wordsworth 734x1024
Rev Jeremy Wordsworth
The Firs 1024x726
The Firs
Combe Down infants school 1970s 1024x728
Combe Down infants school 1970s
Combe Down junior school Mrs Warrens class 1024x621
Combe Down junior school Mrs Warrens class
Fales Gladstone Road garage 1024x689
Fales Gladstone Road garage
Water tower 1970s 1024x730
Water tower 1970s

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A complete shaggy dog story

shaggy dog brunswick place combe down bath chronicle and weekly gazette thursday 11 september 1873
Shaggy dog, Brunswick Place, Combe Down – Bath Chronicle and Weekly Gazette – Thursday 11 September 1873

Things that are new on the site recently are a small section on Combe Road – something of a shaggy dog story given that it, unfortunately, has so little of consequence in it. But one can’t just make things up for a site like this.

There’s also a brief article on Mulberry Park the the 48 acre (19 hectare) Ministry of Defence site started by the Admiralty and purchased by Curo for £50 million in 2013.

It’s probably the third largest project on Combe Down since the Admiralty set up site at Foxhill for World War 2 and since Ralph Allen set up his stone quarrying operations in the 1720s and built Prior Park in the 1730s.

There’s also a great YouTube video on the Combe Down quarries page that is an animation of a quarry crane produced by Mark and Ben Jenkinson to illustrate the Corsham Institute’s Bath Stone exhibition in autumn 2016 at Cranes at Work

Cranes were an essential part of the quarrying process. They were used to lift the blocks of stone cut from the working face onto carts, which were then pulled to the surface by horse or donkey; or later, by small locomotives.

The main structure of the cranes was wooden, with metal gearing and fixings. They could lift blocks of around 5 tonnes.

A crane would be erected in a new working area until all the stone within its reach had been quarried. Then it would be dismantled, moved along to a new area, and re-erected to continue working.

quarry crane
[media-credit name=”Copyright © Mark Jenkinson” link=”http://www.boxpeopleandplaces.co.uk/underground-quarries.html” nofollow=”true” align=”aligncenter” width=”1000″][/media-credit] Quarry crane

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